Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]
FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE:0
[no significant representation of women in authority]
THE MALE GAZE SCORE:0
Is there a female character whose primary goal is romantic (to get married, enter into a longterm relationship with a man, etc)? [why this matters]
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]
Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
The male protagonist has some bizarre ideas about what constitutes “respecting” women, most weirdly not allowing himself to be alone in a room with one even under the most neutral, even professional of circumstances. (One potential problem with his attitude not confronted in the film is that he runs, on his own, an antique shop. Would he deny entrance to a lone woman who wanted to browse or buy something?) This is not respect but control — one running motif has the female tenant of the apartment he lets out being required to wait outside in the cold while he does some handyman repairs inside — and fear of women’s apparently irresistible power over him. Worse, the film presents his attitudes as gentlemanly.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: This is a movie about a man who is presented as a romantic hero — and accepted as one by a woman! — because of (not in spite of) his medieval ideas about women. What gal doesn’t appreciate being treated like a time bomb waiting to go off?
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Old Fashioned! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Old Fashioned.